Reducing Dog Bites by Preparing Pets for Post-Pandemic Life

A new report from State Farm provides insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic affected people and their pets. For some dogs, the increased stress and activity around the home resulted in anxious behavior like barking, aggressive or destructive behavior. As their owners and families begin returning to the workplace or school, experts worry the return to normal could result in a new surge of pet anxiety and behavioral challenges.

In 2020, State Farm paid nearly $157 million dollars for over 3,185 dog-related injury claims. The highest month for number of claims and amount paid for those claims was March, at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. Experts fear another disruption—this time cause by the easing of restrictions for activities outside the home—could lead to a spike in dog bite incidents.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week® is April 11-17, 2021. The National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition – State Farm, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), American Humane, and dog behavior expert Victoria Stilwell are urging people to take steps to prevent a surge in dog bites as the weather warms, lockdowns ease, and life returns to normal.

As pet owners return to the work place or school, pets will be left home alone. Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety could result in aggressive and destructive behavior. This could be a particular problem for dogs adopted during the pandemic. Many shelters and rescues experienced an increase in pet adoptions and fostering. People were home, feeling lonely, and had time for a new dog. Unfortunately, many of these adopted or fostered dogs have gotten the impression that normal life is quarantine life. Now is the time to get your dog ready for the transition to post-pandemic life.

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